WHO says South Korea's Mers outbreak "large and complex"

Jessica Morris
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The WHO doesn't think Mers will spread into the wider community (Source: Getty)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said South Korea's outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) is both "larger and complex" however it doesn't look like it will spread into the wider community,

"Because the outbreak has been large and is complex, more cases should be anticipated," Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general of the WHO, said in Seoul today.

But Fukuda did say that the WHO had found "no evidence" to suggest the virus will spread into the wider community.

Mers is from the same larger family of viruses as severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) - called coronavirus. While Mers is more deadly than Sars, it doesn't spread as easily.

So far, 138 people in South Korea have been infected and 14 have died.

The outbreak stemmed from a businessman returning from a a trip to the Middle East who was first diagnosed with it on May 20.

All of the reported cases have been linked to heath facilities, and authorities have sealed off at least two hospitals, and put around 3,500 people into quarantine.

Earlier this month, the Bank of Korea was forced to cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low 1.5 per cent as the virus dampened domestic demand as well as exports.

The outbreak is the largest outside Saudi Arabia, where the first case of the disease was reported in 2012.

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